Born: United States of America
Primarily active in: United States of America
Robert "Bob" William Arden, US Army Structures Leader
Bob Arden was born on Aug. 16, 1942, in Gary, Indiana. He received a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University in 1965 and began his career as a structural analyst at McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis. While there, he earned an MS in Mechanical Engineering in 1970 from the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology).
Arden worked briefly at Westinghouse (1974–1975) before joining the US Army Aviation Engineering Directorate (AED) in St. Louis. During his time there, Arden established the Fatigue/Loads Engineering Branch within the Structures and Materials Division of AED and retired as the division chief in 1997. Arden then joined Westar (now Peraton) where he was a program manager and subject matter expert in aircraft structures supporting AED (now Systems Readiness Directorate) until his death.
During his time supporting Army Aviation, Arden played an integral role in the development of many important structural policies, including risk management of untested components and alternate source fatigue testing. He laid much of the early groundwork for structural usage monitoring. Arden supported multiple tri-service activities and chaired committees created to formulate common aircraft structural integrity policies, as well as the study group that defined all the structural requirements for the JVX/V-22 tiltrotor aircraft.
Arden authored or co-authored 12 papers on the subjects of fatigue, design criteria and related structural topics, and presented them at national and international technical forums. He was an uncited contributor and reviewer on many more and was always an advocate for VFS, his colleagues remember. Arden was a principal author of MIL-A-8591, ADS-24, ADS-29 and, most recently, was a co-author of MIL-STD-3063 (Rotorcraft Structural Integrity Program).
Arden spent the last two years of his life supporting the Armed MD 530F flight loads survey effort for the Army’s Multi-National Special Project Office (MASPO). The survey was necessary due to the significant changes in configuration and usage from the baseline commercial model to determine the retirement lives of the new variant. His knowledge and experience in this area was critical to getting this effort completed and much of the credit for its success belongs to Arden. He believed this program was a perfect bookend to his long career and greatly enjoyed the mentoring role required.
Arden received the Joseph P. Cribbins Award for outstanding individual contributions to Army Aviation from the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A) in 1995. In VFS (then the American Helicopter Society), Arden served as chair and vice-chair of the Structures and Materials Committee and vice-chair of the Fatigue Subcommittee, as well as Structures and Materials Session Chair and Technical Advisor for two Fatigue Specialists’ Meetings.
Bob Arden passed away at his home in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 24, 2023, after a brief illness, at the age of 81.
Society Update: Vertiflite, January/February 2024